Dream Again! (Diet for Dreamers)


It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. (Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr., Physician, author and lecturer, 1809-1894)

Ever had a school teacher scold you for having your “head in the clouds”? Sure, daydreaming while you should be paying attention is counterproductive, but on the other hand, we all need dreams to be healthy and happy. Having a dream, a goal to accomplish, a project to complete, adds to our sense of purpose and self-worth—which in turn helps to give us hope. And we NEED hope! Without hope we lose spirit and eventually stop truly living. We lose our enthusiasm for life, and we find ourselves just going through the motions of everyday existence, shuffling along mindlessly like one of those zombies in Night of the Living Dead: no heart, no soul.

Forget milk. Got enthusiasm? Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, founder of the inspirational magazine Guide-posts, wrote several volumes on the subject, but he managed to sum up the main idea in a single book title: Enthusiasm Makes the Difference!

Dr. Peale once wrote, “There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” Interestingly, the word enthusiasm means “full of God,” which shouldn’t be too surprising because, after all, it’s God who created each of us and then filled us with life. So take heart when things go wrong, because God loves you, and He cares about you!

“Yes,” you may think, “but does God care about my hopes and dreams?” Indeed He does! Read these words aloud:

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”   (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

So trust God, and dream again!

“How do you go from where you are to where you wanna be? …I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal. And you have to be willing to work for it.” (Jim Valvano, NCSU Basketball coach and broadcaster, 1946-1993)

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and lecturer, 1803-1882)


Not a Fruitcake! (Angel in the Kitchen)


Concerning fruitcakes,
apparently more people enjoy baking them than eating them. Why else do fruitcakes constantly show up beneath the Christmas tree or in a game of White Elephant? Because at least one cook in every family bakes several each year with the good intentions of distributing them as gifts. In fact, fruitcakes are to Christmas what toasters are to weddings.

So, as we sip eggnog with friends and family by the fireside, someone will inevitably pass us a suspicious looking loaf-shaped parcel tied up with a bow. With a little trepidation, we slowly unwrap our gift. Is it another necktie? Socks? A high-def TV? No, it’s a dense hunk of nuts and gummy fruits barely held together by a pinch of flour and a hasty prayer! Ho Ho Ho-oooh!

Oh, thanks! But you shouldn’t have. NO, seriously, you shouldn’t have!

And now it begins: the annual fruitcake shuffle! We pass it off to you, you pawn it off on your boss, your boss re-gifts it to his sister, she takes it to her pastor, he delivers it to a board member who’s been a pain in his neck, the pain-in-the-neck gives it to his neighbor who babysits for him when she’s actually got better things to do — and who deserves something much nicer for the time she’s spent — and she … uh, just happens to know us!

This poor, overtaxed servant brings it right back to us: “Hi, I couldn’t get out and do any shopping — ‘cuz I’ve been babysitting a lot of nights — but look, I brought you guys a fruitcake!!”

“Oh, yummy!” we cry in unison, giving her a hug. “You really really shouldn’t have!!”

Once our guest departs, one of us asks, “Sweetie, isn’t this the same fruitcake we got rid of a few days ago?”

“Could be,” the reply comes. “Then again, you never know: after all, all fruitcakes look alike to me.”

“I hope it’s not the same one we gave away last year! Ya know, some of these things would benefit from carbon-dating. So what should we do?”

“Don’t we still need to give your brother a gift?”

For a long awkward moment we stare at each other in silence. How could we stoop so low? We should be ashamed of ourselves! We should be….

“Yeah, why not!”

Before we continue with this confessional, we’d like to ask a nagging question: Does anyone ever buy a fruitcake? Probably not. Because everyone knows that someone somewhere has one they’re trying to give away! Actually, legend has it that there are only a finite number of fruitcakes still in existence, all of them baked centuries ago by trolls living under a bridge. These dried out blocks of fruit and nuts just stay in circulation … making the rounds … the quintessential objects of re-gifting … forever … and ever … Hallelujah … Hallelujah! *Sigh!*

Whenever they could break into someone’s kitchen, velociraptors were notorious for baking deadly, prehistoric fruit cakes!

There’s a scientific theory that should anyone — let’s say, someone who’s delirious from hunger — ever actually eat one, it would drastically decrease the surplus population of fruitcakes, ushering in the end of civilization as we know it! But not to worry, Christmas is just around the corner! And fruitcakes are the gift that keeps on giving! Year after year after year!

There’s another gift that keeps on giving — but not because anyone re-gifts it. In fact, no one who’s ever received this gift has ever wanted to part with it — it’s that precious! No one can make it, and no one can buy it. It can’t be earned and it can’t be given away. It’s the free gift of eternal life, bestowed by our Heavenly Father, through His Son Jesus Christ! “The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 GOD’S WORD)

Christmas commemorates the day Jesus Christ came to earth in human-form; the birth of our Savior in a Bethlehem manger over 2000 years ago. It’s a time of giving gifts, because the arrival of Christ on earth led to His giving the greatest gift mankind has ever known — or ever will! Christ gave His life for each of us. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)

Have you opened God’s gift yet? Trust us, that’s no fruitcake — or anything else you’d want to give away. Indeed, it’s a treasure that keeps on giving throughout eternity! “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV)

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this. It is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:8 NLT)